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Source: European Parliament 2

B9‑0434/2020

European Parliament resolution on Forced labour and the situation of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

 

(2020/2913(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 

  having regard to its previous resolutions, notably that of 10 March 2011 on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China), and that of 4 October 2018 on mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and that of 19 December 2019 on the situation of the Uyghurs in China (China Cables),

 

  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2018 on the state of EU-China relations,

 

  having regard to the 37th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue held in Brussels on 1-2 April 2019,

 

  having regard to the EU-China Strategic Partnership launched in 2003,

 

  having regard to the adoption by the Council of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime,

 

  having regard to Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of religious belief, and to Article 4 thereof, which upholds the rights of minority nationalities,

 

  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, which China signed in 1998 but has never ratified,

 

  having regard to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, notably Article II, section D thereof,

 

  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 

  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

  1. whereas the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) has rapidly deteriorated in the last years, not least since the launch of the ‘Strike Hard against Violent Terrorism’ campaign in 2014, as control of Xinjiang has been made a top priority of the Chinese authorities, fuelled by instability and security threats that Uyghurs are allegedly posing to Xinjiang and the strategic location of Xinjiang as a core region for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with ambitious future production targets for textiles and other labour-intensive manufacturing products;

 

  1. whereas since President Xi Jinping assumed power in March 2013, the human rights situation in China has continued to deteriorate; whereas the Chinese Government has increased its hostility towards peaceful dissent, the freedoms of expression and religion, and the rule of law; whereas the Chinese authorities have has constantly and repeatedly violated human rights;

 

  1. whereas since 2017 the Chinese Government has arbitrarily detained as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps, and has subjected detainees to forced labour, torture, political indoctrination, and other severe human rights abuses;

 

  1. Whereas young Uyghur children have been sent to state-run orphanages if even one of their parents is detained in an internment camp, and are forced to undergo political indoctrination;

 

  1. whereas credible research suggests that the internment camp system in XUAR is expanding or being upgraded, with more than 380 suspected detention facilities newly built or expanded since 2017, and at least 61 detention sites newly constructed or expanded between July 2019 and July 2020;

 

  1. whereas forced labour exists within the XUAR’s system of mass internment camps, and throughout the region, and is confirmed by the testimony of former camp detainees, satellite imagery, and official leaked documents from the Government of the People’s Republic of China;

 

  1. whereas new evidence from Chinese government documents and media reports shows that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority labourers in Xinjiang are being forced to pick cotton by hand through a coercive state-mandated labour transfer and “poverty alleviation” scheme, with potentially drastic consequences for global supply chains as Xinjiang produces 85 percent of China’s and 20 percent of the world’s cotton;

 

  1. whereas recent reports suggest that the forced labour system, which includes mandatory training for farmers and herders in centralized vocational facilities and their reassignment to state-assigned jobs, has been expanded into Tibet; whereas in the first 7 months of 2020, the region had trained over half a million rural surplus labourers through this policy;

 

  1. Whereas dozens of EU companies have business ties to Xinjiang; whereas several studies have reported the use of Uyghur forced labour for the benefit of major European companies;

 

  1. whereas natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically during the past five years; whereas documents from 2019 reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilization in rural Uyghur regions; whereas these findings provide strong evidence the PRC’s policies in Xinjiang meet one of the genocide criteria cited in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, namely that of: “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the [targeted] group”;

 

  1. whereas the US Congress in 2019 passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act; whereas on 22 September 2020 the US House of Representatives adopted the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that imposes various restrictions related to XUAR, including by prohibiting certain imports from Xinjiang and imposing sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations there.

 

  1. whereas that the persecution and repression of religious communities has intensified since the entry into force of the regulations on religious affairs in February 2018, which have restricted the activities of religious groups and forced them to act more closely in line with party policies;

 

  1. whereas in 2020 the European Parliament and the European Commission acquired thermal imaging cameras from a Chinese tech giant that has been accused of providing surveillance equipment to the XUAR internment camps as part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19;

 

 

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  1. Expresses its deepest concern at the system of mass internment camps which has been established in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; is worried at the forced political indoctrination and ill-treatment of detainees in the re-education facilities and the widespread human rights abuses, including mass forced sterilizations,  in XUAR;
     
  2. Urges the Chinese Government to put an immediate end to the practice of arbitrary detention without charge, trial or conviction for a criminal offence of members of the Uyghur and Kazakh minorities, to close all camps and detention centres, and to immediately and unconditionally release those detained, and to reunite the Uyghur children, that are forcibly put in state-run boarding facilities, with their parents;

 

  1. Urges the Chinese government to immediately end its scheme of targeted birth prevention measures, including forced abortions,  against Uyghur women;

 

  1. Expresses profound concern over reports of the use of forced labour in internment camps in XUAR and over reports of forced labour systems outside the Xinjiang region;

 

  1. Calls on the Chinese government to ratify core International Labour Organization conventions;

 

  1. Is deeply worried over studies that show the use of forced labour in the supply chain of international companies doing business in Xinjiang and over reports of collaboration with the Chinese institutions involved in the mass surveillance or detention of members of the Uyghur population; calls on the EU, its Member States and the international community to implement effective control mechanisms in response to Uyghur forced labour; emphasises that actors from the private sector should assess their engagement in Xinjiang in order to scrutinise their supply chains to ensure they are not involved in human rights violations;

 

  1. Welcomes the adoption by the US Congress of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the recent adoption by the House of Representatives of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act;

 

  1. Encourage the EU and its Member States to reduce the import of any goods made with forced labour from the People’s Republic of China, particularly those goods mined, manufactured, or produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; calls on the EU and its Members States to establish a blacklist of Chinese companies implicated in Uyghur forced labour and to ban the export of surveillance technologies to China; calls for the inclusion of strong and enforceable human rights clauses in any trade agreement with China, including the EU-China Investment Agreement;

 

  1. Expresses its grave concern about the acquiring by the European Parliament and the European Commission of technological equipment from a Chinese company accused of being complicit in human rights abuses in XUAR; calls on its President and the EC to order the replacement of this equipment and to apply due diligence more strictly in in its relations with contractors and sub-contractors.

 

  1. Welcomes the recent adoption of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime by the Council; calls on the Council and the EU Member States to impose targeted sanctions – in accordance with this new instrument – against those responsible for, or otherwise involved in, the grave human rights violations against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region;

 

  1. Calls on the Member States to suspend extradition treaties with the PRC, to prevent the extradition of Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Tibetans, or other Chinese dissidents in Europe to stand political trial in the PRC;

 

  1. Underlines that the promotion of human rights and the rule of law must be at the core of the EU’s engagement with China; stresses the importance for the EU and the international community to robustly act to promote full respect for human rights in the context of its relationship with China;

 

  1. Calls on the EU to closely monitor the human rights situation in Xinjiang and to raise the issue in all relevant meetings with the Chinese counterparts at all levels;

 

  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the European External Action Service, the Member States, the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the National People’s Congress.

 

 

 

 

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